There is evidence of Van Burkleos in Delaware
and Maryland from the Mormon Church records. The name also appears
in the 1700's in New Jersey. Many of these Van Burkleos or Van
Bokelos were attached to the Reformed Dutch Church. The first
four generations below came from correspondence with Tracy Lee
Van Burkleo in 1995.
These children were baptized from 1733 to
From the first marriage, William and Eleanor
had the following children:
From the second marriage, William and Mary
Blackstone had the following children:
From the third marriage, which took place
on February 3, 1853, William and Charity Jane Gilderland had the
A letter, written by William Van Burkleo about
his lifetime experiences, has been located in the archives of
the Missouri Historical Society, from the Maher Collection, which
had been presented by Dr. Ben L Emmons. The letter below is taken
from a copied version with some editorial corrections to the original
"Written the first day of June 1854:
"A small sketch of my life and of
ancient times from 1794, at which time I was ten years old. I
was born in the state of Delaware, Kent Co, in June 11, 1784,
and when I was about 4 years old my father moved to the Monangahalah
where he stayed two years then moved to Kentucky in the hottest
Indian times. Three families of us embarked in a flatboat for
Limestone, which is now in Mason County, Kentucky."
"When we arrived there, I saw the
first Indian barbarity. There were three flat boats just landed
which started a day before we did. They had been delayed by a
large number of Indian canoes. The boats were well made. The
attack was made in the night. The Indians attempted to land the
boats but were bravely resisted by all in the boats, men women,
and children. They fought with guns, axes, knives. And the Indians
after a long fight and loss of a great many men, retreated. The
boats floated on till they came to Limestone where they got help
to land. They had just landed when we got there. The scene was
so alarming. I will never forget it. I think there were about
60 souls, big and small, amongst which there was but one man and
two women who were not killed or wounded. My father went on board
the boats and I went with him, and of all the horrid sights I
have ever witnessed, it was the worst. Some dead, some dying,
some crying, some mourning. There were horses, cattle, and people
laying dead all over the boats."
"We then moved out about 12 miles
on the waters of Licking to Miles Station, where times were pretty
warm the first night we got there. The Indians stole all our
horses from the wagons, which were a few steps from the blockhouse
and so when the time while we stay in Kentucky."
"On the first Sunday morning after
we got to the station a young man went out to get his horse, the
Indians had tied the horse in the brush with the bell open. They
killed the young man and scalped him in sight of the blockhouse.
We stayed there and lived on wild meat and hominy or bread made
from flour by pounding in a mortar until the war was over. The
year that wane(Wayne?) whip(?), my father volunteered and went
to Ohio to join the army as a spy. And as soon as wane (Wayne's?)
last battle was over, he returned home with the first Indian scalp
I ever saw. He brought 2 or 3 scalps and a tomahawk and some
other trinkets all of which were a great toast in the station."
"He then moved to Ohio. We arrived
in Cincinnati a few days after Wayne's Treaty with the Indians.
Cincinnati was a small village. We remained there until the
Fall of 1798, when old David Dust(Durst, Darst?) bottom returned
home from this country on a visit to see his brother who was taken
prisoner by the Indians and brought to this country. Davis Durst(?)
was a close neighbor to us. He brought such great news about
the Spanish Country, my father fixed up and we started from the
mouth of the Big Miami about the first of October, 1794(1798?)
with our family in one small flat boat and our cattle in a large
boat, but the Ohio was so [shallow?] that we could not get along.
We then turned the cattle out on the Indian side and drove them
along the bank and lay with the boat that had the family every
night, which was very bad. The buffalo and bear often scared
the stock and gave us much trouble. We got to the 6 Mile Island
which was six miles above Louisville the last of November where
we put up for the winter."
"We wintered finely. Game was plentiful.
As soon as the ice broke, he bought a flat boat and put the cattle
aboard and set out again and floated on finally till we came to
Fort Massac(?), where there was a garrison of soldiers. There
we had to stop and get a passport. We then floated on till we
got to the mouth of the Ohio, where we stopped to kill bear meat
to do us through the summer, intending to make a pevogue (a type
of boat?) to come up in, but accidentally there was a keel boat
which came along going to the solen(island?) after salt. We got
the family in that, and we crossed the cattle over the Mississippi,
through swamps and marshes, which was a severe job. I waded many
times to my waist through the cypress weeds and falling over them
in the water till I was half-drowned until we got to Cape Girardeau,
which was the first settlement we found."
"There was Laramore(?), who was an
Indian Chief and a Spanish Commandant when we got there. We had
not eaten anything for two days. He gave us some hominy and dry
venison, which was great nourishment. We then drove on through
the Shone and Dilawar towns where we found a great deal of friendship.
They gave us dry venison to last us .... Misear(?), as it was
called then, which is where we found the family from whom father
rented a house for the summer. He picked out his in Bobveeta
Bottom(?).....move to it in the fall and became neighbors to the
Indians, for their town was only four miles from us."
"He became so dissatisfied that he
determined to leave the country and sold out intending to get
it all in salt and take it to Nashville. Salt was worth $4 a
bushel then in Tennessee and intended buying cotton and taking
it up to Ohio. He moved to the Salenes(?) to collect it. He
there got his debts all turned over on Speners(?) and left have
books they was caring on the salt works. He stayed there a year
trying to collect it and the brook and he lost it all but about
"He then moved to St. Charles, which
was called Petticoat. and stayed there one year being still dissatisfied,
took what he had in salt and went to Tennessee and sold it for
cotton and started up the Ohio. I was going on 14 years old.
He gave me the choice of going with him or coming back here.
I thought it best to come back here."
"I got back about the last of September.
When I got to St. Charles, there were two men by the name of
Gardner that were fitting out for an expedition up the Missouri
trapping. I joined them and went along. We went about 500 miles
up the Missouri and then we got amongst the hostile Indians.
There I learned my first lesson about Indians. We were in a canoe
and had to dodge from side to side of the river to keep out of
their way. Sometimes we would slip up some of the small rivers
where we were afraid to shoot, and then we would live on beaver
meat, when there was plenty of buffalo and deer all around us.
It was seven months in which we saw no white man nor had neither
bread nor salt. In the spring we came down to the river Lamen(?).
We met two hunters."
"About the last of May we came down
to make arrangements to start up again the next fall, but when
I got to St. Charles there was a man waiting for me with tidings
from my mother that father was dead and she wished me to come
to her assistance. I started with the young man and myself in
a bark canoe which I brought down with me. We went to the mouth
of the Ohio in it, hen walked up the Ohio, killing meat as we
went, till we got to the Volking Cave on the Ohio, where I found
my mother with seven children. I then bought a large pevouge
and hired two young men and started back and before we got to
the mouth of the Ohio two of my little brothers died, but we came
on, taking us pretty neigh all summer to get to portage Desoux.
I stayed with her till she married old Mr. Gatey."
"Since that time I have been struggling
for myself. In 1811 I was married. I then bought 100 arponds
of land at one dollar per arpond. It joined hisen. and overall
in the point I paid for it with 200 bushels of corn the next fall.
I was in debt to old James Morgan 75 dollars for my wedding suit,
which consisted of hat, coat, shirt, and pants of a cheap quality,
which I paid for the same fall in venison and paltry. Then said
I to my wife, "We are out of debt and got a good piece of
land. I ask no odds of the world." I then worked on at
home and abroad having good luck until the fall of 1812, when
the Indian War broke out, when my good luck turned to bad luck
some time about the first of October."
"I was warned to be at Portage Desoux
the next morning by sun up, armed and equipped, for there was
a great body of Indians at the south of Illinois. I started before
daybreak the next morning and was there by daylight. The company
met and was mustered by Capt. Samuel Griffith and was ordered
up the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Illinois, where we stood
guard that day and night and the next day without anything to
eat except a few apples we got at portague. In the evening we
was called in and sent home after provisions to return next morning,
which was good luck for me. If it had not been so, my family
would have all been murdered, for the Indians attacked my house
that night. They fired a platoon in the bed where my wife and
myself was asleep, broke my wife's leg, and hit me with seven
buck shot in my thigh which awoke me. I knew what was up and
sprung to my gun which was hanging in the rack. "One stepped
in the house," my wife said. He pointed his gun at me and
fired and sprung out of the house. The powder burnt me and blinded
me so that I never got to see them for they dodged round the house.
The ball hit me in the hip, but I did not fall. I got behind
the foot of the bed that stood behind the door, intending to make
the best fight I could. I set waiting for them to break in for
some time with my gun cocked in my hand and my butcher knife in
my mouth. Hailed them, but no answer. I spoke in French and
in Indian and told them to come in, that they was squaws and was
afraid to come in, but they made no answer. I told my little
brother-in-law, who was setting to my back to shut the door, which
he did. At that moment they attempted to burst the back door.
I got there as soon as I could and held it to till the boy secured
it. I then, by the help of the boy and a hand ladder that was
in the house, got up in the loft where I opened holes that I could
see out, but never got sight of them. They found out I was there
and left. I lay there all night and watched with great difficulty
when I would raise up to look out. I would faint before I could
lie down. My wife, lying below, bleeding but never moaned. She
told me her leg was broke. When daylight came, the boy took a
horse and went for assistance, which came as soon as possible."
"We was taken to St. Louis County
to her brother, Dr. Fallis, where we stayed till the next spring.
I got so I could walk with crutches. I then came back to the
point to Squire Ayrses, for my house was burnt down a few nights
after we was shot and they burned my house with everything that
we had and from that my fence took fire and burned one whole string
of it, and I lost my whole crop which was 30 acres of corn and
all my truck. They shot one horse and stole two."
"I then moved where I now live and
was determined to see them out. I made strong doors and made
port holes all around the house, but they never tried me again,
but when they had the fight at the sinkhole, I could hear the
guns so plain, I expected it would be my turn next, and when they
killed Dreling in Gore Sealy's yard, standing talking to Sealy
in the door. They fired 21 guns at the door. Sealy shut the
door and got his gun. They come running from the brush. Some
stopped to scalp Reling and the rest come running to burst the
door when they got in a few feet of the door, George was at a
port hole and let the foremost one have it. He fell with his
head against the door step. Several of them gathered him and
packed him off and they left there to be. Two rangers stayed
there that night but had no guns, one of them had just stepped
on his business and had just returned and set down as he saw an
Indian slipping on him, he sprung with his britches in his hand.
At that moment the guns all fired and Indians took after him
but soon lost sight of him. Charley ran to the white's fort,
which was two miles from there, then gathered about ten or twelve
men and put out for Sealy's. Before they got there, they saw
the Indians in the prairie, carrying the dead Indian. They hurried
on to the house and found Sealy unharmed but David Realing killed
and scalped. They immediately pursued to the bank of the Quiver,
where the Indians took water. Realing was a ranger. He had his
gun broke in a battle and was to home doctoring it. The next
was Elick(?) Sencor, near Kooks Spring. He was a-horse, hunting.
The Indians was in ambush, shot him off of his horse and scalped
him. He was a fine young man."
"I was never able to do military duty
again, but had many scouts after them in the settlement."
"Governor Clark sent me three men
to stay with me all the time and my brother-in-law stayed, all
brave fellows. We made it a rule to never open the door till
sun up. Then we would scout round a little to see if there was
any signs. One morning we found a trail in the weeds, so fresh
that the dew was knocked off the weeds. It appeared to be ten
or twelve of them about a half mile back to a small prairie.
I went about 50 yards ahead on the trail. The rest followed,
each one about 25 steps behind another, so that they could not
get much advantage of us. I went about 100 yards and then discovered
a small patch of trash(?) I beckoned to the boys to stop. When
I got to the little patch, I beckoned to them to come on. The
Indians had stopped there and had been eating lying down. They
had bent the bushes and vines together, made a sort of blind.
We then followed them across the little prairie into the brush.
We then turned back and raised some men and pursued them but
they scattered and we could not find them. We had many such chases
as that, have run them several times till they took water, for
the river was all over the prairie in '15(1815?)."
"I will say something about the battles
and defeats, the time Capt. James Callaway was defeated. There
was a large body of Indians come into this settlement near Luter
Island and did some mischief. Capt. Callaway raised a company
and pursued them. He was a courageous and inexperienced fellow,
rushed along without a spy and when they came near the narrows
on Luter, where the bluff come close to the bank, old Capt. William
Ramsey proposed to go up the bluff and go around. He said there
was danger in following through the pass. Callaway laughed at
him, and told him he was a coward. Ramsey was an old experienced
Indian fighter. Said he, "You may call me what you please,
I shall go round," and before he had got a half mile he heard
the guns. Him and one more man they went near enough to ascertain
the whole fact, then made their retreat with the news that Callaway
was defeated. They fought to the last, but the Indians killed
and defeated them all."
"Capt. Ramsey's battle on the Mississippi,
near the mouth of Salt River. He come on a body of Indians camped
on the bank of the river. He sent his brother, Allen Ramsey,
and three other men as spies. They crawled so near up behind
the camps, one old Indian, having a looking glass in his hand,
saw them, threw the glass sprung to him. Allen Ramsey, being
foremost, shot him. The five(?) then commenced to tree themselves
and fought for some time till there was several killed and in
both sides, till at length the Indians retreated, one by one slipping
under the bank of the river. Ramsey left at the same time, knowing
that there was a large body of Indians near on their way home,
near Buffalo Lick. The Indians waylaid the trace, fired on them,
and they had a hot battle. There was several killed and on both
sides, so got....took more men, went back to take care of the
dead and wounded."
"The time of the battle at Sinque(?)
Hole, the Indians attacked Fort Howard by firing on some men that
went out of the fort to an old house that was near. They lay
in the brush by the roadside as the men was on their return to
the fort over a slough of backwater, where the men had their canoe
in sight of the fort. The Indians fired on them and killed them
all. At the same time the Indians fired on the fort from another
quarter. Capt. Craig(?), leaving a few men in the fort, rallied
on them where they killed the boys, but having to go around the
slough. The Indians retreated to the brush. Craig soon overtook
them, about the same number that attacked they boys. They fired
and ran and in a short distance their army was placed. They fired
killed Capt. Craig as he was foremost and wounded several more.
They retreated and fought back until they came to the mouth of
the hollow that heads near the sink hole. Lieutenant Spears took
command of the men, pursued them. The Indians got across the
hollow on the hillside where they had the advantage of the ground.
There they made a stand. Spears pushed on them. They kept retreating
up the hollow till all length. Spears got on the other sillside.
There they fought for some two or thrtee hours until Capt. D.
Musick got there with a part of his men. After some time the
Indians began to scatter and finally retreated and the wounded
and such as could not make their escape run in the sink hole.
Spears attempted to charge on them, but they was so well concealed
that he found he could do nothing with them after making many
attempts, and had several men killed and wounded. They sent and
got a pair of cart wheels and made a battery on them against.
They got that done, it was getting dark. Musick took a part
of the men and went around the sink hole on one side and Spears
on the other side and the battery was to move down at the same
time. Spears rushed too fast, was shot in the head. Old Saint
Scoot shot the Indian in the head at the same moment. It was
dark and they left - When they went back next morning, the Indians
had put the dead Indian on Spears, had cut off Spears' head.
From the signs, the Indians had fixed the sink hole for that purpose,
had dug with their tomahawks so they could hide. There was a
great deal of blood there."
Thus end this fascinating insight into life
in the Midwest in the first half of the 19th Century.
Benjamin was in medical school in 1872 in
St. Louis, Missouri, separated from his family. He was in joint
practice with Dr. J. P. McElhinney in Cottleville, Missouri.
He and his family moved near Fayette, Howard County, Missouri,
in 1883, where his son, Samuel, went to Central College for two
years. In 1885 they moved to Texas in covered wagons. In 1886
they lived on the Sam Star Ranch in the Cherokee Nation. Later
he went to Springfield, MO. and then back to Paris, Texas, finally
to Glory, Texas, where a home was purchased. They had the following
Graves Gibson was an funeral director and
undertaker in Robstown, Texas. From the second marriage there
was one son as follows:
After the death of her second husband, Elizabeth lived in Mississippi, and finally in California with her daughter.
See the continuation of this lineage elsewhere in the Simmons Line.